Home Builders Are Embracing Smart Home Technology

July 11, 2019

People looking at smart home technology blueprints digitally using a tablet

Half of all consumers state that smart home technology is a key feature they look for in their next intended home purchase home.

That is already reason enough for home builders to start harnessing the power of domotics, there’s more.

With 37.5 million smart homes already in place in the U.S and that figure projected to double, there’s really no way for construction companies to avoid this insatiable desire for smart home gear.

Think of it this way.

The average homebuyer will visit ten houses before deciding on which one makes the best fit. If they fall in the 50% of those with a penchant for smart devices, is that person likely to take a connected or unconnected home?

It’s a no-brainer, right?            

Beyond that, smart homes can attract a 5% premium over alternatives. In a Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey, 81% of those questioned said the presence of smart devices in a home would make it a more attractive purchase. Among the younger generation, almost three-quarters of those questioned said they would willingly pay a premium of thousands for a connected home.

The problem for builders is working out the best approach and how to scale this solution.

First, let’s look at the wrong way to go about smartening up new homes before we look at what homebuyers are really looking for.

How Home Builders Go Wrong with Smart Home Technology

It’s all too easy for construction companies with only a vague understanding of domotics to steam in unprepared. They can end up spending unnecessary money without achieving their ultimate goal: maximizing sales thus swelling the bottom line.

How do they go wrong?

Well, the old adage “Fail to plan, plan to fail” is never more true than with smart home technology. Here at Smart Home, we always advise absolute beginners to take plenty of time in the planning stage. There’s much to consider if you want to avoid wasting time and money, including:

  • Interoperability of devices
  • The need for a home hub
  • Type of control
  • Level of user input required
  • Scope of automation available

Find The Intended Purpose of Smart Home Technology

Underlying this, it’s crucial to think about the intended purpose of the connected home in question.

Do you want to make your life easier?

Is security your primary concern?

How comfortable are you with tech?

All these questions are vital if you’re a consumer looking to build out a new smart home of your own. For home builders intending to roll out this kind of technology on a much larger canvas, such planning is more critical still.

This, sadly, is where many firms have gone astray. Popping a random smart lock and a thermostat in place is wildly unlikely to do anything much to enhance desirability or value.

At bare minimum, a home designed with connectivity in mind needs to come with a home hub since functionality without one is sorely limited. Check out our exploration of hubs right here.

We’ll look below at some of the most effective ways builders can construct thoughtfully automated homes. First, though, why is it easier now for builders to start automating new builds?

Why Is It Easier Than Ever For Home Builders to Implement Smart Home Technology?

Building homes is, ultimately, like any other service: you need to give your customers what they want. Fail to do this and they’ll simply go elsewhere.

The good news for builders is that in 2019, it’s never been easier to roll out automated homes on a scale once thought impossible. One of the primary motivators for construction companies concerns that customer desire for all things smart.

The Mainstream Nature of Smart Home Technology Makes It More Likely to Impact House Prices

Voice control is now so commonplace as to be almost humdrum.

Smart home devices are no longer a novelty and integration continues as the automated home becomes the rule, not the exception.

Since domotics has entered the mainstream, this has led to such a prevalence of buyers placing an absolute premium on connected homes. In turn, this means it’s economically viable to install this technology as consumers will pay more.

Also, since connected homes are much more attractive they don’t just fetch more money, but sell quicker into the bargain.

There’s another knock-on effect of this mass adoption of smart home technology that builders can capitalize on, too.

Technology Is Not Cost-Prohibitive Any More

The popularity of smart devices in 2019 means it’s never been cheaper to buy off the rack. If you’re looking to build homes on a large scale and you can buy in bulk, you can get an even better deal on already low prices.

Also, as technology continually improves, installing smart home technology gets easier than ever as well.

Options for Professional Installation Are Widening

Not only are individual devices pretty straightforward to set up, but a growing number of companies will also take care of everything for you.

Rather than needing existing contractors to try their hand at installing unfamiliar kit at a sluggish pace, building companies can now get a done-for-them solution. This makes automating new homes very scalable.

Now, we’ll touch on some specific ways home builders can actually begin implementing that smart tech.

Effective Ways For Home Builders to Employ Smart Home Technology

Before we glimpse at some core areas where homebuilders can benefit from installing smart home tech, let’s take a look at what consumers don’t want.

What Buyers Don’t Want

An ADT survey showed that many highly hyped smart appliances come low on the average consumer’s list. Smart fridges, ovens and cleaning devices come near the bottom of that list. This is good news for builders since they also happen to be pretty pricey.

The basics like smart light bulbs or smart plugs really don’t do much to boost value either so it’s better that builders pass these up.

With those caveats in place, it makes sense for home builders to focus on what buyers prize above all else.

What Buyers Want

The twin pillars of home automation are convenience and improved security. Throw in energy-efficiency and energy monitoring and prospective buyers have exactly what they need without needing to hit the Smart Home store.

Here are eight great ways for home builders to hit that sweet spot and see houses spend less time on the market while attracting higher prices into the bargain.

  1. Automated Window Shades
  2. Smart Mirrors
  3. Connected Garage Doors
  4. Entry Systems
  5. Covert Security Cameras
  6. Solar Roof Panels
  7. Climate Control
  8. Smoke and Leak Detectors

1) Automated Window Shades

Like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, although automated drapery and window shades are now mass-market, you still don’t see them in too many in connected homes. After all, when you’re looking to automate your own home, it makes sense to focus on the basics first. And, once you’ve spent your budget on making your life safer and easier, semi-unnecessary touches like window shades assume low priority.

This, though, is precisely why it makes good sense for home builders to include them. Not only do they make a statement when potential buyers view a property, this type of equipment is providing consumers with something they want, but wouldn’t want to buy themselves. This makes automated shades make a judicious choice.

2) Smart Mirrors

From mirrors giving you wardrobe assistance to mirrors with hidden TVs and smart shaving mirrors, there’s a wealth of choice for home builders looking to add some touches of elegance to a home without spending a fortune.

Again, this type of purchase often seems like frippery when you’re kitting out your own home. When it’s served up for you on a platter, it can seem rather appealing.

3) Connected Garage Doors

Moving on to something more practical, automated garage doors perform two key functions. First, they’ll simplify your life when you’re returning home after a busy day. Also, you will receive alerts in the event of your garage door being breached, that way you can protect your car along with any valuable tools, bikes or sporting gear you’ve got stashed in the garage.

It’s inexpensive and straightforward for home builders to smarten up garages and it’s easy to do this from the ground up or through retrofitting.

4) Entry Systems

Smart locks in isolation are unlikely to swing the balance for a prospective buyer, but when used in tandem with other devices throughout the home, they’re a worthwhile addition.

Video doorbells are also incredibly popular so if a home builder automates the entry system of a home, would-be buyers get a strong first impression which can then be compounded with further devices throughout the home.

Before leaving the entry, though, there’s another hidden touch of smart home technology that can make a powerful impact.

5) Covert Security Cameras

Most people looking to buy their own home will have fixed ideas about security cameras, especially when it comes to outdoor cameras.

It’s impractical for a home builder to assume the prospective buyer will want to be locked into a contract for professionally-monitored security services. It’s equally risky to make an assumption about which ecosystem the buyer might prefer. Finally, the buyer might already have this gear in place which leaves home builder with a stealth option.

Covert security cameras resembling traditional porch lights are a great and cost-effective way for builders to throw in an extra layer of security that will likely be welcomed by anyone looking to buy the house.

6) Solar Roof Panels

While convenience and security are the key attractions when it comes to smart home technology, everyone loves to save money, too.

Installing some form of solar roof panels is something builders can very easily implement. It is also something many consumers would think twice about because it would take the responsibility off their own back.

Combined with effective insulation, solar panels can serve to dramatically reduce electricity bills, while also playing their part in helping the environment.

Alongside solar energy, there’s another more traditional method for home builders to make homes less energy-hungry.

7) Climate Control

The classic smart thermostat is always going to be welcomed. Replacing that old and fiddly nightmare with a clean, lean interface requiring little by the way of user input will be appreciated by any buyer.

Builders can also consider adding in air duct dampers and zone controllers to further optimize heating and cooling systems.

8) Smoke and Leak Detectors

Last but by no means least is another potentially life-saving addition in the form of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Also, water leak detectors are devices that buyers might think twice about buying, but could literally make the difference between life and death.

Final Word

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s glimpse at why more home builders are choosing to embrace smart home technology. You should also have a clearer idea of how this can benefit you, the consumer.

What could be better than moving into a home where the basics are already neatly automated? You’ll then be free to push ahead and spend your smart gear budget on some more enjoyable equipment like a huge smart TV or some wireless speakers.

A gentle reminder before we close…

If you sign up to our email newsletter, you’ll get more than curated updates on the latest smart home news. We’ll also throw in a very generous 20% discount on your first order, so what are you waiting for?

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